Panel to pick new leaderships of two transitional justice bodies by mid-April

  • Names of former Supreme Court justices under consideration, sources say
- BINOD GHIMIRE, Kathmandu

Apr 4, 2019-

KATHMANDU, 

Amid concerns from the human rights defenders and conflict victims to amend the transitional justice Act prior to selecting the new leaderships for the two transitional justice bodies, the recommendation committee is working to complete the selection process before the terms of existing teams expires.

The recommendation committee led by Om Prakash Mishra, a former chief justice, which will commence the selection process on Thursday, is preparing to call applications for the positions in the two transitional justice bodies. Those willing to be chairpersons or members of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Commission of the Investigation of Enforced Disappeared Persons will have to file their applications within a week from the date of vacancy announcement.

The vacancy is likely to be called on Sunday. Sharmila Karki, a member of the recommendation committee, told the Post that their first meeting will prepare a work procedure for the selection of new leaderships and call the vacancies accordingly. “We will complete the selection process as early as possible. We want the new leaderships to be ready to bid farewell to the existing team,” she told the Post.

The second amendment to Enforced Disappearances Enquiry, Truth and Reconciliation Commission Act, 2014 has set April 13 as the last day for the incumbent leaderships of both the commissions. Organisations comprising human rights activists and conflict victims, however, have demanded revision to the existing Act as per the Supreme Court’s verdict and international practice before selecting  the new teams for the two commissions.

Issuing a press statement on Wednesday, Accountability Watch Committee, a loose network of conflict victims and human rights defenders, asked the government to select the new leaderships in a transparent manner only after amending the Act following proper consultation with the stakeholders.

“It is sad to see that the government is taking no serious steps to amend the Act even four years after the Supreme Court’s verdict. We demand that the concerned authority start selection of the new leaderships only after completing the amendment process,” reads the statement. On February 26, 2015, the Supreme Court had struck down the amnesty provision and said the consent of the victims was necessary for any reconciliation besides clarifying that cases which are sub judice at various courts cannot be transferred to the commissions.

The recommendation committee, formed last week, is yet to convene its first meeting, owing to poor health of Mishra. Similarly, the committee is also waiting for the National Human Rights Commission to recommend a member. Either the chair of the national rights watchdog or a memberrecommended by the chair has to serve as an ex-officio member in the recommendation committee. Bed Bhattarai, secretary at the human rights commission, said Chairperson Anup Raj Sharma will recommend a member to the committee on Thursday.

According to sources familiar with the development, political parties are working to appoint retired Supreme Court justices to lead the two transitional justice commissions. The parties are considering former chief justices Min Bahadur Rayamajhi and Balram KC to lead the two commissions.

“This time parties are looking to select persons with fine reputations, unlike in the past when officials were chosen based on the interests’ of the political parties,” a source told the Post on condition of anonymity citing the sensitivity of the matter. When the Post reached out to former justice KC, he said he had not been approached for the position and that he had no idea.

Published: 04-04-2019 11:14

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